The ‘Eureka’ moment – a lone man experiencing a sudden flash of inspiration out of nowhere, and solving a tricky puzzle – is an attractive idea, and one that’s embedded in our culture’s images of crazy scientists and inventors.
Yet, inspiration doesn’t normally strike out of nowhere, as this recent Fast Company article explains. Inspiration comes from our brain mulling things over without us actively thinking. While we’re busy doing and thinking about other things, our subconscious is busy making connections and filling in the gaps of our tricky problems. By actively working on things and then having a break, we can give our brains the chance to process information and come up with solutions. But those solutions might pop into your consciousness when you’re least expecting it.
This explains why so many dinners in our house are cut short by “Back in a minute, I’ve just worked out what’s causing my bug!“